Ader Says Okada Manila US Listing Can Still Happen in 2022

Posted on: September 14, 2022, 12:29h. 

Last updated on: September 14, 2022, 01:32h.

26 Capital (NASDAQ:ADER) CEO Jason Ader says that despite swirling controversy, merger completion and the subsequent US listing are still in the cards for Okada Manila this year.

Okada Manila
26 Capital CEO Jason Ader. He says Okada Manila can list in the US by the end of 2022. (Image: Manila News)

Ader’s firm is the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) the Philippine integrated resort operator is slated to merge with in an a$2.6 billion deal that also paves the way for a Nasdaq listing. That transaction encountered various delays in recent months, after Kazuo Okada — the man for whom the venue is named — and his associates briefly took physical control of the casino hotel.

That was followed by more legal wranglings and an accounting controversy, which some market observers speculated endangered the SPAC deal.

Our company is planning to move full-steam ahead with Universal Entertainment Corp. to list Okada Manila,” said Ader in an interview with Reuters. “It is possible we can do it this year.”

Universal Entertainment is the Japan-based parent of Okada Manila. The SPAC merger was originally scheduled to close at the end of the second quarter.

Reasons Okada Manila Deal Can Happen This Year

Earlier this month, the Philippine gaming regulator granted Universal control of Okada Manila. That’s a step in the right direction regarding bringing the blank-check transaction to the finish line and listing the stock in the US.

For his part, Okada and his associates assert the regulator’s decision is in conflict with one issued by the Supreme Court of the Philippines and are threatening legal action to that effect. Earlier this week, Tiger Resort, Leisure & Entertainment, Inc. (TRLEI), which controls Tiger Resort Asia Limited (TRAL) and Universal Entertainment, filed a suit of its own. It alleged Okada intentionally misled the Philippine high court.

Okada remains on the company board and recently attended a directors’ meeting held at the casino. That could be a sign that despite ongoing legal maneuvering, Okada is taking a more conciliatory approach that could set the stage for the completion of the merger with 26 Capital.

Ader told Reuters’ audits of Okada Manila’s financials are ongoing, and the Philippine casino market is showing clear signs of life in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, which is still weighing on Macau.

Okada Manila SPAC Deal Particulars

The blank-check deal values Okada Manila at $2.6 billion. The stock will trade under the ticker “UERI” upon closure of the transaction. Ader didn’t mention dates for a shareholder vote or completion of the transaction.

Okada Manila makes for a unique publicly traded gaming company — by SPAC or otherwise — simply because it’s a one-property entity. However, the venue is profitable, and its first-quarter revenue surged by more than 30%.

It’s possible that following the Nasdaq listing, Okada Manila won’t remain a one-property entity. The company could pursue expansion opportunities in Japan and New York City.